Abooali’s Blog

9.3 (12) Pandora’s Box

pandora

There was no-where I could hide. I couldn’t walk down the street without bumping into this or that brother or sister or child from my school or acquaintance from the mosque. At Islamia School I found it harder and harder to carry on being “Teacher Hassan” the role model others looked up to and I started staying in my classroom at break times to avoiding having to see anyone. But making the decision to leave Islamia School was a very difficult one. It had been a huge part of my life, the children were like my own children and my colleagues were my friends. It was hard to walk away from the life and social circle I had known for so many years. I was also concerned about the effect of taking my children out of the environment they had grown up in and felt secure in. But as long as I remained at the school I knew I couldn’t move on. I had to take stock of who I was and where I was. I needed space. I wanted to change everything and make a fresh start, get away from religion and get away from the expectations that surrounded me. I handed in my resignation and left Islamia School in April 2006.

After a few months I knew I had made the right decision and I began to feel more relaxed and confident within myself. The greatest relief was that I didn’t have to live a double life of publicly expressing beliefs that I privately no longer believed. I was finally free to be myself, though I wasn’t sure who that was. There were plenty of things on offer. If I didn’t like Islam, how about becoming a Christian? Or maybe a Hindu or Buddhist? Would I like to be an Atheist or an Agnostic? How about some sort of New Age philosophy? Society seems to hate people it can’t label, but after such a long and difficult process of trying to cast off one label, I was determined not to fall for another. The house I moved to was in a very bland Oxfordshire town. I liked it because of its blandness. The 1970s three-bed semis all looked the same with their manicured lawns, regimented rows of tulips saluting you and gleaming silver Ford Mondeos in the drive ways. The man who walked his dog at 9am, like clockwork, always smiled and said “Morning!” as he passed by with his copy of the Guardian tucked under his arm. No one knew me; I felt invisible; and that’s what I wanted to be – invisible. As I was now a single parent of 4 children I took a part-time job as an online teaching mentor as well as delivering eggs for my brother’s farm.

Apart from some discussions with my two brothers – I hadn’t spoken to the rest of my family yet about what I believed. They all thought I was still a Muslim. I always said the usual things like Assalamu-Alaykum, Al-Hamdulilah, Insha’ Allah and occasionally joined in prayers with family. They knew I had many doubts and some ‘strange’ ideas, but I had never said I wasn’t a Muslim anymore. It was something that I hadn’t even admitted to myself yet. Then one day in early 2007 I received a text from my eldest sister Kamelia. It read:

How u doing? I heard startlingly that u r becoming an apostate! Maybe u should try 2 get hold of american writer – jeffry lang’s ‘help i’m losing my religion’ love xx

Seeing the word apostate made my heart skip a beat. I put the phone quickly back in my pocket. I told myself that I shouldn’t reply as it would only upset Kamelia if I was to confirm that I was an apostate. But the truth was I still couldn’t admit it to myself. Apostates are considered the lowest form of life by Muslims. They have wilfully turned away from Islam after having being guided to the truth. They have abandoned God and sold their souls to Satan. I remember reading what one Muslim had said on a discussion board about the Somali apostate Ayaan Hirs Ali:

“Allah says these people will receive humiliation in this life, and a worse humiliation and torment in the next life! But the best part is, we can rest assured that this walking piece of FILTH will burn in Hell forever and ever! Usually the idea of Hellfire is too much to want on anyone, but filthy apostates deserve nothing else! Allah’s justice will prevail, in this life and ESPECIALLY in the next life where fools and dogs like this filthy woman will eternally regret what they did, and will wish they didn’t make such a grave mistake!”

Now, here I was having to admit to my sister that I was myself an apostate – a Murtadd – that most vile and despised of creatures. But I didn’t want to go on pretending, to others, or to myself, anymore. I took the phone out of my pocket and wrote:

“I have lost my faith in religion, but not in God.”

I chose my words carefully so as to not lie and yet reassure Kamelia that I wasn’t a completely lost cause. I knew Kamelia would rationalise that my doubts about religion were just disillusionment with Muslims – something I had talked about many times in the past. But from that moment on I realised that I wasn’t a Muslim any longer. I finally consciously recognised what I subconsciously had known for some time.

The days and weeks seemed to flow by quickly as I slipped into the routines of taking the kids to school, getting them home, cooking, cleaning and doing my online teaching and deliveries. Routines are an invaluable coping tool. They distract us from morbid thoughts and from the silliness of the world. Most importantly, routines are natural; they make you feel normal. The world around me was still full of confusion and conflict, but I could feel a subtle change deep within me. I felt more positive and at ease with myself. My fears and insecurities weren’t completely gone though.

There was still one question that troubled me – the question of morality. Muslims take for granted that there are moral absolutes, unchanging standards of good and evil, taught to us by God. They provide us with the framework by which to live our lives as good and decent human beings. Without absolute moral standards Muslims believe that man will become corrupt and sinful, drowning in a sea of moral relativism where ‘anything goes’. Now that I rejected Islam I no longer believed that the morality it presented was divinely ordained. I had lost my yardstick for what was right and wrong and felt a sense of moral confusion. In reality I was still the same person I had always been and behaved in the same way. But the thought, that without strict moral boundaries I might be slowly corrupted, frightened me. I thought about how the sheikhs and Imams in the mosques had warned about the dire consequences of abandoning God’s law and how they had constantly cited examples of immorality in the decadent, secular West as proof. Even in those days I was always aware of the way they exaggerated the truth. I remember one Sheikh saying that “Women walk naked in the streets and couples openly have sex in the parks.” I was also aware of their double standards; they had no problem quoting criminal cases that were not typical of Western behaviour, such as paedophilia, rape, or serial killings as proof of the evil morality of the West, yet protested with a great deal of righteous indignation, if anyone dared to quote criminal cases that were not typical of Muslim behaviour such as examples honour killings, wife beaters or terrorists. I also knew through Rachida’s work with Muslim women’s groups that paedophiles, rapists and many other types of deviants did exist in Muslim societies but were often brushed under the carpet by families under pressure to preserve their honour. But perhaps most crucially, the Qur’an itself presents very dubious standards of morality in verses that sanction slavery, taking concubines, hitting wives or torturing unbelievers in the most savage manner for all eternity. But if I no longer took my morality from Islam, where would I get it? How do I know what is right and wrong? Are there absolute standards? Or is everything relative?

I was sitting in KFC in Oxford town centre one day when I noticed a smiling Buddhist Monk on the other side of the street. He was standing at the foot of the old Saxon tower of St Michael’s Church, begging for money. The crowds that flowed up and down Cornmarket Street seemed oblivious to his presence. Groups of Italian or Japanese tourists leaned their faces in together in front of the camera, big grins and waving arms, with the old church and its little monk nothing more than a curious backdrop to an Academy-Award winning snapshot of amazing people. I decided to go across and see the monk at the foot of the tower. He was only a few steps away, but crossing Cornmarket Street through crowds of pedestrians proved difficult. It seemed everyone was either blind or were bumping into me on purpose. I began to wonder whether both the Monk and I were invisible or had fallen into a parallel universe. When I finally reached the other side the Monk, who had been watching me all the way, held out his little tin and smiled. I took out a couple of pounds and dropped them in.
“Buddhists don’t believe in God, do they?” I said.
“Buddhism is about reaching a state of enlightenment. Understanding that reality is not what it appears to be.”
“But if you don’t believe in God, and don’t believe God tells us what is right and what is wrong, then where does morality come from?”
“I think you know.” He smiled. It sounded very wise and final. I wanted to tell him that I didn’t know, but thought it would be rude to spoil the moment. Perhaps this was one of the “Seven AHAs of the enlightened soul!”

I’ve never been a big fan of Buddhism. I have come across quite a few pretentious Western converts who managed to make it seem like a trendy and self-absorbed pastime. There is also all this nonsense about people being born with disabilities because they were bad in a previous life. It seems to me that this monk should know better than to believe such things. Despite that, I realised he had a point. I do know. I may not be able to define or explain it, but I have always had inner moral compass and I still had it – despite my loss of faith in religion. In fact it could be said that it was my moral compass that led me to reject religion.

Muslims constantly mock the idea that man can come up with moral standards by himself and point to what they see as the moral malaise of human society when left to its own devices; the constant shifting of the moral goal posts to suit current trends. I had always accepted this argument in the past, but now I doubted it. If Muslims have absolute standards of morality, then they should agree about what’s right and wrong. But they don’t. Muslims differ a great deal about many moral issues and some can’t even agree on major ones. Secondly, although human beings, left to their own devices, may not agree on everything, there is a great deal of agreement on a vast number of issues and most people don’t need the ten commandments to tell them that one shouldn’t murder, steal or commit adultery. If anything, religion can prevent people from acting in a moral way. It is also no coincidence that only in recent times, when religion has been largely ignored, have we had such broad agreement on moral standards such as those set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which some fundamentalists still object to, arguing it contradicts Islamic Law.

Maybe it is easier and more comfortable to think that we have been given an external guide to what is right and wrong. But that seems to defeat the whole object of our existence as self-aware beings. To struggle with questions of good and evil, it seems to be precisely why we have such an ability; it’s what makes us human.

The irony is that it is man’s struggle for truth and understanding that has led to religions in the first place. It is very difficult to resist the temptation to tell others of one’s experiences, teach them the wisdom one has learned or cast in stone the answers one has discovered. Of course there is nothing wrong with learning from the great minds of the past, and it would be foolish, not to say arrogant, to think that one can ignore centuries of human wisdom – whether they claimed divine inspiration or not. The grave mistake is to forget that words are merely symbols used to point to experiences that can never be fully conveyed within the limits of human language. In the case of spiritual experiences related in ‘Holy Books’, we are talking about something that is outside another persons own experience and thus beyond the concepts they have come to attach to words. As Rumi is reported to have once said, “Now that I’m in love I disown all that I wrote about it in the past”. Any words that attempt to describe such things should never be taken literally and must be constantly challenged in the light of our own evolving experiences & understanding.

Life is often a twisting and at times very painful road. I never imagined when I started out on that road that I would be at the place I am now, so I cannot presume to know where I will be in the future. But I do know that I don’t believe in Islam anymore. I don’t believe the Qur’an is the literal and infallible word of God. Nor do I believe in the Bible or any other book that claims Divine authorship. It’s clear to me that the author of these books are men. Men whose source of inspiration was not a Divine Being, but themselves and the context and time they lived in.  For me the magic of Islam has vanished. It’s light, dim and it’s pearls, fakes. Like Pandora I glimpsed inside the locked chest and the magic of Islam escaped. I cannot put it back.

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85 Responses

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  1. learn2bcalm said, on December 9, 2008 at 10:12 am

    Hassan,
    great chapter. !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. whatabastor said, on December 10, 2008 at 1:14 am

    “But if you don’t believe in God, and don’t believe God tells us what is right and what is wrong, then where does morality come from?”
    “I think you know.”

    I liked this one

  3. insanna said, on December 16, 2008 at 10:59 pm

    I had a problem with morality too, especially when my dad put me down for abandoning my moral compass when I abandoned religion. He’s always going on about how this society has no ethics and so on. My favourite response to him is, “you follow society’s ethics too. If you followed your religion’s ethics purely, you’d be taking four wives, beating them, giving me only half the money you’re going to give to my brother when God knows I need it more and keeping slaves.” That always shuts them up.

  4. PeruvianSkies said, on December 19, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    Excellent chapter 😀 I had never seen morality as a problem personally, it is something that evolved with us before religion ever existed. We humans are the ones who have always defined morality.

  5. Peter Hearty said, on January 1, 2009 at 6:45 am

    We often see the Theory of Evolution as describing nature only as red in tooth and claw. People forget that love, compassion, cooperation and selflessness are as much part of our nature as selfishness and brutality. Empathy and a sense of injustice have been observed in many social species. Humanity, with it’s high dependence on cooperation and trust, could not survive without such instincts. Far from being the source of our morality, religion has simply hijacked it for its own ends.

  6. speaklow said, on January 3, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    Another great chapter.

  7. sojournerlumus said, on January 3, 2009 at 5:33 pm

    A well observed journey. It’s often difficult to be objective about your own decisions.
    I concur with the observation that ‘..religion can prevent people from acting in a moral way’ and the tie-in with the emergence of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights almost as a secular necessity following a meeting of civilisations having different religions and cultures, and hence varying views on what should constitute Human rights.

  8. Stefan said, on January 26, 2009 at 12:17 am

    I, as a relatively non-religious person with a Christian base, have for a long time looked for somebody reasonable to learn about Islam from.

    What I have found so far are

    – “Christian” missionary-types whose arguments cannot be trusted
    – Muslim “scholars” who cannot have a critical discussion of Islam

    I am really excited to have read about your experiences and seen your videos discussing Islam. You know your stuff and are obviouslly also able to look at the religion from a critical point of view. Thank you for great reading/watching! I look forward to more material from you.

    I have one question for you:
    How has your religious journey influenced your children?

    /Stefan

  9. prep4md said, on January 26, 2009 at 11:34 pm

    “As I was now a single parent of 4 children” — did your wife leave you because your new beliefs?

    -After reading the 10 chapters it is apparent that you disliked some things in islam, others kept you thinking, and some made you skeptic. But what I would like to know is whether you found certain things that might prove that islam is a cult, a hoax, etc? Without that it would be argued that you just went with your ego (nafs) or just listened to “satan’s whispers” because your faith was weak and hence the problem is with you and not with the religion.

    -Was your family outraged with the news? how did you cope with that?

    -What do you do these days?

  10. abooali said, on January 27, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    Hi prep4md,

    To be honest I couldn’t care less what some people may or may not think. I am not interested in proving anything to anyone and people can take my story as they like.

    Thanks for reading and commenting.

    Best wishes,

    Hassan.

  11. kics said, on March 6, 2009 at 4:30 am

    Islamic morality
    I had a revelation only yesterday about the Islamic approach to the story about god asking Abraham to slaughter his son as a sacrifice.

    I just can’t imagine anyone arguing that such a request is anything but the cruelest of cruelness. What I was not aware of, was that at as poor wretched Ishmael was awaiting the dagger to dispatch him, who shows up to plead with Abraham to stop? The Devil. Yes, it is the Devil who is the compassionate one who takes pity on poor wretched Ishmael – who was of course a Muslim – and not God, who wanted him as a sacrifice. The Devil attempted three times to tempt Abraham away from sacrificing his son, and each time he was thwarted by Abraham throwing stones at him. Hence Muslims at the hajj today throw stones at the three pillars in reverence to Abraham. Reverence to Abraham?

    This to me represents a truly twisted morality. In this story, surely it is the Devil who is exhibiting the behaviour, one of compassion, mercy and pity, that we would want to tell our children to follow – not the behaviour of capriciously cruel God and sycophantic Abraham. As Terry Wogan might say, is it me?

  12. prep4md said, on March 6, 2009 at 8:13 am

    @ kics, the moral of the story you mentioned is to follow Abraham’s behavior of doing whatever God asked him to do no matter how odd it may have appeared to him.

  13. Syahir Abak said, on March 18, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    You dislike how Muslims used religion to justify their actions .That does not necessarily is right in Islam . It is for all Muslims to explain that their actions are not right .Running away from Islam is also not right . Remember our faith in Islam is between us and God.

  14. stumblingmystic said, on March 23, 2009 at 4:53 am

    This is an amazing story. We have linked to your blog here:
    http://thetrashbin.wordpress.com/2009/03/22/meet-aboo-ali/

  15. Muslim Man said, on March 24, 2009 at 3:49 am

    Interesting. You had some logical points, and some illogical points.

    But the overarching message is basically a few things about Islam you didn’t like, because they are politically incorrect today, whereas if you lived in some other time or place, they would be non issues, just as what were deeply ingrained important issues for the earliest Muslim communities – that caused apostasy then – would be non issues today.

    Without a belief in God, most people won’t go out raping and killing, but morality becomes ‘what seems right’, which is largely dictated by cultural milieu, and subject to whims and desires. To see this, one only has to examine the overall perception of what is sexually acceptable in the west over the last 60 years.

    The other issue is the extremists had their arguments, well so what? So do neocons and zionists who slaughter at will. That doesn’t mean western philosophy as a whole is guilty of their crimes. The arguments of the extremists are weak, at best, and mostly motivated by the death of Muslims, so they use injustice to counter injustice.

    So I ask you, If the logical reason for your apostasy was some things in Islam you decided were immoral, then what is the moral framework by which you judged them? you have adopted a belief which can have no absolute morality, only relative transient systems that differ between people, time and place – where no moral belief has any claim of superiority over another. So you must have decided Islam is immoral based on one of many relative moral systems, the one that ‘felt’ right to you.

    Your decision by definition cannot be rational. Rather, it was emotional, because you could not accept some things, and the alternative you adopted logically implies there is no real absolute right or wrong, it all depends on perception, and its all subjective – including Islamic morality you rejected.

    Many others have had these issues that you went through, but they realized that they are emotional qualms, not logical ones. And that all the alternatives, including non-religion, pose far greater logical (and in fact emotional) qualms

    As a side note, the atheists that praise you fail to see, that in their world view, morality is nothing but evolved behaviors that help or deter the passing on of genes. ‘Good’ means helps me pass genes, and ‘Bad’ means wont help me pass my genes – making any concept of good and evil totally meaningless.

    Anyways, it is your choice, you have rejected the truth you have known, understood, and tasted all your life, for minor emotional reasons and things you came to dislike, and forgot the major issues, purpose of life, why are we here, the beauty of the world around you. Islam does not need you or me, it we who need it. But then again, there have been other apostates who after disillusionment of their new way of life, came back to Islam. I hope inshaAllah, you become one of them.

    Just make sure you do not become arrogant, which by any standard, Islamic, or secular, is an evil trait, and will ensure you follow falsehood.

    Good day

  16. stumblingmystic said, on April 10, 2009 at 8:16 am

    Muslim Man,

    What makes you think Hassan is an atheist? As far as I know, he identifies as a deist and seems to be a spiritual person. What he’s lost faith in is the Islamic tradition, which, given the stagnant state of the tradition and its apparent inability to evolve, is something one can hardly blame him for.

    “But the overarching message is basically a few things about Islam you didn’t like, because they are politically incorrect today, whereas if you lived in some other time or place, they would be non issues, just as what were deeply ingrained important issues for the earliest Muslim communities – that caused apostasy then – would be non issues today.

    Without a belief in God, most people won’t go out raping and killing, but morality becomes ‘what seems right’, which is largely dictated by cultural milieu, and subject to whims and desires.”

    No, I don’t think so. I think Hassan has arrived at his conclusions through the exercise of his capacity to reason. And I think that it is possible to arrive at a set of universal ethics through the exercise of reason. Go read any secular ethical philosopher and you’ll see that it is entirely possible to arrive at a set of morals to live by through self-observation, rationality, and a study of history and the past experiences of humanity.

    Besides, many people believe in God but not in Islam. People might follow some other religion, or might follow some form of non-religious spirituality. Where do you get the idea that believing in God automatically means one has to follow the legal rulings of Islam? In fact many thoughtful theists DO find certain aspects of the Islamic legal code appallingly unjust. And many of the people praising Hassan are themselves theists (I’m one of them).

    “Just make sure you do not become arrogant, which by any standard, Islamic, or secular, is an evil trait, and will ensure you follow falsehood.”

    Your apparent desire to seek black-and-white answers betrays that *you* are the one who is being arrogant, not Hassan, who has been extremely courteous and balanced in the re-telling of his story.

  17. stumblingmystic said, on April 10, 2009 at 8:23 am

    “Many others have had these issues that you went through, but they realized that they are emotional qualms, not logical ones. And that all the alternatives, including non-religion, pose far greater logical (and in fact emotional) qualms”

    Let’s see you back this up. Set up your own blog and respond to all of the criticisms of Islam presented here and elsewhere in a scholarly and principled manner.

    The fact is that the Islamic tradition has cornered itself by internalizing certain dogmas that simply do not hold up to critical scrutiny: that the Quran is the literal and infallible word of God; that the prophet Muhammad was the final prophet for all time and the “best of creation”; and that Islam will some day dominate the earth and render all other ways of living null and void.

  18. glucose said, on May 19, 2009 at 12:41 pm

    “That doesn’t mean western philosophy as a whole is guilty of their crimes”
    Muslim Man, necons and zionism have clear dogmatic and religious overtones. This has hardly anything to do with Western philosophy. Even if they did, nobody is expected to swallow Western philosophy. You are free to think over it, scrutinize it embrace or reject parts of it, unlike Islam which should be accepted as a package.

    What differentiate Western decadence from Islam’s problems is that most of the concerned people are aware of it and accept it, instead of pondering over old socio-political systems. Many of West’s problems stem from behaviour in opposition to the ideas of secular moral philosophers, who were proabably not listened to at their times due to the prevailing Abrahamic dogma, and becuase they didn’t perform miracles. It could be seen that even secular moral philosphy encourages the ‘virtue of moderation’ which is concluded from rational ideas rather than a fear of hell fire.

  19. TVicar said, on June 10, 2009 at 8:04 am

    ‘I’ve never been a big fan of Buddhism. I have come across quite a few pretentious Western converts who managed to make it seem like a trendy and self-absorbed pastime.’

    I’m beginning to doubt your powers of deduction at this point. A whole belief system dismissed in a sentence based on some trendy people you met – seems very shallow to me. Shame it took you so long to dismiss Islam 🙂

    ‘The world around me was still full of confusion and conflict, but I could feel a subtle change deep within me. I felt more positive and at ease with myself. .’

    That’s a happy ending. It’s good that you now have a positive outlook. Too many of us (apostates) are adrift at sea with no sign of the shore. Your life must be so much better now that you’ve left the fear behind you, well done.

  20. MuslimGirl said, on June 30, 2009 at 9:11 pm

    you said in ur first chapter ”I reckoned I had nothing to lose and everything to gain by remaining a believer and so I went through the motions of being a ‘good’ Muslim, in the hope that my faith would return”

    can you just tell me what u have gained from losing faith in ur religion ?? an ease of mind ?? brother u have overlooked the fact that u literally lost everything once u became an apostate, I mean is it that ur following what ur nafs wants ?? u wanna be free of some religious belifs ?? can you tell me what’s the purpose of ur life now ?? what were u born for ??

    okay sorry but im going to speak in arabic as im more fluent in this language and can express myself better I hope that u understand arabic.

    yemken enta hl2 7ases bera7et el bal enoh 5alas mafi eltzamat 3q2dieh w mesh lazem te2men bel islam, bs bedy efham hl2 b2y met3a 7ases bi 7yatk ?? feenak t3mel elly bedak yah do u think this is going to last ?? wa7ed metlak 3omroh 48 ma broo7 la wara bel 3aks bi faker enoh keef ytdyen w ye3bed raboh aktar bs enta bel 3aks lama sert kbeer w 3m et5atyer 3m terja3 sert la wara w 3m t5aly kteer muslimeen yseero murtadeen, ma b3ref shu 3m testafeed aw ay ra7et bal 3m tjeek.

    I have many things to say, i dunno why im unable to exlpain myself better now, i have alot going on right now. But lemme tell u one thing that u were very lucky when u were born as a muslim. how can u deny such ne3meh ??? u know im a muslim lady and elhamdillah i do cover up i used to argue alot about the hijab since i didnt like it and i can swear to u if i dont wear this piece of cloth i could be by now one famous lady in my town as im blessed with beauty and gorgeousness. I always wanted to be famous, or to be like any other teenager that lives in the west but what always stops me is my religion and my parents. Many times I figured that I should run away from my parents but I also thought in terms of my religion that i could be a disobedient child and if i happened to die i will go to hell fire this used to scare me alot, then I asked myself what if my religion is wrong ??? all my fears and concerns will go away ?? but i never wanted to get this idea in my mind ever. however, when i started watching some youtube vidoes bashing islam, i used to get sad and my mood turns really bad because i never want to hear ill things said about my religion, and i never want to become an apostate. No matter what i hear about my religion i still believe its the one and only true religion. deep inside me i know islam is right and i always tell myself ( nafs) that if i ever want to take off the hijab is because i want to please my nafs and satan im sure i want behind taking it off is to attract guys and show my real beauty i know its not wrong to do that its human nature, but why does Islam has asked me to put it on for ?? i keep asking myself frequently why do i need to wear it ?? I’m always answered that i should keep my real beauty for my husband to see, i dont need to attract others as i need only one male for my children not hundreds, I believe once i get married all of these doubts and desires will just vanish as soon as i get married i will be satisfied and it will be fair for my husband and not other men to see my body or hair. whenever i put on my hijab i get less attention it can make me less happy as for now but im happier when i know that im obeying my creator’s rules. disobeying god or following my urges will not last its not like an eternal happiness. i could gain something for a short term but lose something forever. look at michael jakson what did he take from the money and fame he made in this life ?? look back at his life 20 years ago and compare with the life he has a few years ago or with the days he suffered short before he died ?? im sure he forgot all the happiest/fancy moments he lived through his life as he was saying his last goodbye. in the Quran its mentioned that human beings are the most arguing creatures we argue over the most lil things when its not worth it, i mean what does it take u to believe that god is Allah and all the other prophets Muhammed, jesus…etc are only his messengers. u will keep on arguing forever and at last u die, get baried then composed by earth worms and u could still see the world is going on wihtout u. now tell me after all what did u gain from letting ppl go astray from Islam ?? pleasing others of being apostate ?? what have u persoanlly gained from leaving islam ??? I still cant believe Quran is written by a man its not concidence that its words were still not fabricated since thousands of years ago , its not coincidence Day (yawm)” is repeated 365 times in singular form, while its plural and dual forms “days (ayyam and yawmayn)” together are repeated 30 times. and the number of repetitions of the word “month” (shahar) is 12. The words “benefit” and “corrupt” both appear 50 times. The words “man” and “woman” are also employed equally: 23 times.

    There isn’t just math in Quran, there is also science, i’ve seen many videos about the scientifc errors in Quran and i have studied back the scientific interpretations of the universe’s verses. there is no way that the quran would include errors, u should remember that not any word in arabic can be translated exactly into english, when u translate to english u ppl twist things i can show u the verses which u guys interpret wrongly. Allah has a wisedom he sent Quran in Arabic language, he could’ve sent other versions in other languages simulatenously, why do u think he didnt do such thing?? what do u think he order us to learn arabic fos7a for ??? I’ve found out many english verses of quran do not match exactly the arabic version, like in surat ”altawba” and ”altareq”. And when i seek the truth i dont go ask the sheiks why atheist say this and that about my religion, i study the quran all by myself i dont watch videos as much as i read. first word was sent in the quran is ”iqra’a” meaning READ. every word was put in Quran wisely elhamdillah i was born as a muslim, im so grateful to Allah.

    Finally u should remember that life is not happiness its ”fitnah” and if u feel at ease now this is not an ever lasting feeling. to feel at ease is when u assure that u will rest in peace while u r in grave and u absolutely know what i mean by ”peace” which not anyone would easily find after his/her death.

    May Allah put u back on track and make u able to see the evdient truth.

    sorry if i had any english mistakes i dont feel like proof reading. im not fluent in english anyways. and im sorry for saying too much.

    take care.

  21. Nadine said, on July 8, 2009 at 3:36 am

    Hi Hassan,

    I was deeply sad when I heard of ur story. But after reading just parts of ur story here on ur blog, I can understand why you came to your descion to leave islam. I feel as though u have lived a very confusing life because u were constantly surrounded by nonsense, i completely sympathasis with you. You were part of a circus..’islamia school’ & more importantly u struggled alone without really being true 2urself. Being surrounded by sufis and salafis and the whole lot im sure would drive any sane person 2insanity.

    You know its very easy to sit online all day and read countless texts or watch countless videos that mock islam or the teachings of islam but the truth is there only one islam and it is by no doubt the most beautiful & flawless relgion in the world, but the flaws lie within the people! There is only one God & one message to all mankind and that is to do good and stay true to god! I as a young muslim feel that in this time and age being a ‘muslim’ has no value. For me being a good person is more important than being muslim but ultimately this ‘goodness’ comes from islam. Having no relgion does not mean u will be a corrupt person because corruption does not happen over night, religious values are instilled within you even if u deny relgion. Yes i also agree with you, muslims differ a great deal about many moral issues and some can’t even agree on major ones but that has nothing to do with islam itself but rather the cultural differences and the individual differences.

    I also want to point out that you seem to focus on how can ‘a loving god’ punish people for all eternity. Please tell me how could any society function with no law, order & justice programmes? How could a society function if its laws are not implemented & if criminals who break the laws face punishment. Could a justice system be just if it treated both good citizens and criminals equally the same? You also seem to avoid mentioning that the Quran mentions 1000’s of times that Allah is most Forgiving, most Merciful.

    Your journey to seeking the truth has just begun. I hope u start over and turn to Allah & learn from muhammad & ahlul bayt. May Allah give you strength,peace and power & guide you to the real islam…the deen of love,passion & forgiveness.

    Peace & Love

  22. abooali said, on July 8, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    Thank you for your kind comments, Nadine.

  23. ben said, on August 5, 2009 at 2:43 am

    I was very moved by your story, you are a good writer.

    I just feel a sense of peace now, like in these rare occasions where the consciousness of our common humanity overpowers all life’s little concerns.

    Have a good life, and enjoy it.

  24. Rob Squires said, on August 14, 2009 at 9:37 pm

    Hassan,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this blog and for your videos on YouTube as well. As an American who converted to Islam, spent sixteen years within the fold (both as a “Salafi” and a traditional madhhab-following Sufi), and then gave it all up, I can relate to your story very much. As I see it, your faith was doomed from the start since you kept on thinking critically. You demanded answers and refused to be just another sheep. You refused to bury your head in the sand like most other Muslims and thus kept looking for answers to the many confusing, ludicrous, barbaric and nonsensical aspects of Islam. The fact that you are obviously a kind and compassionate person probably didn’t help your faith either.

    Believe me, I feel your pain since I struggled over the years with so many of the exact things which you described. I was a tormented soul for so much of the time, which I know is the case for many other converts to Islam as well. I just wanted to thank you for both taking the time to share and having the courage to share. I’m sure what you’ve presented will help other ex-Muslims as well as Muslims who are also having doubts. You are a very thoughtful person, quite knowledgeable about Islam (including the traditional sources), very congenial in your presentations and a good speaker of Arabic, so they won’t be able to dismiss you (as they always try to do) as someone who “wasn’t really a Muslim,” “never really understood Islam” or “is full of hate.”

    Finally, since it’s a bit funny, I’ll mention that when my wife realized that I was “having doubts” (although there was actually no longer any doubt in my mind that Islam was false!), she purchased an entire set of Jeffrey Lang’s books for me. She was somehow unaware that I’d read, or at least heavily skimmed, all of them before and that I never liked the guy’s modernist and pick-and-choose approach, much less his over-confident “Great White Hope” attitude in which he was going to show the poor Muslims how to understand and fix their religion. As you pointed out several times, although the literalists and fundamentalists revile me as well, I agree that they are much more intellectually consistent and true to the textual sources of Islam (and they have the overwhelming majority of the tradition on their side as well). Realizing that, I sometimes wonder how people like Jeffrey Lang manage to maintain their “faith” and hold it all together…

    I wish you the best of luck!

    Best Regards,

    Rob Squires

  25. abooali said, on August 14, 2009 at 9:56 pm

    Thank you for your thoughtful comments, Rob 🙂

  26. jahve said, on September 14, 2009 at 12:50 am

    you really had all this time to write this.. do you think muslims they belive this story is true…

    ah, i forget you wanted to cheat cristians….. ha ha haaa

  27. Kyo said, on October 6, 2009 at 11:55 am

    Thanks for sharing your story, some interesting bits I enjoyed reading. But can’t help but feel sad. Not pity, but after reading certain key moments in your life I kept saying to myself “is that it?”

    After years of being a Muslim, decades I’m assuming, and ‘that’ was the level of understanding of the deen you reached? It feels like you missed out on SO much more Islam has to offer, the esoteric (sufi) as well as the (exoteric) understanding of the shari’ah.

    Your foundations were shaken by terrorist acts? Seriously? Is that it?

    The Muslim personalties you met in your life, is that it? 20, 30, 40 years as a Muslim maybe? And those are the only people you met?

    This is going to sound hella bitchy but dude, looking at your whole life as presented in this blog the most fittting description is – “nice bloke, destined to mediocrity.”

    I pray the light of iman finds you and the veils between you and Him are lifted.

  28. Talal said, on October 21, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    Hello Hassan

    I first found your Youtube channel few weeks back, liked your videos and was very interested in your background. Just today I found your blog and read your story.

    Was very interesting. Like others have said, I can relate to some things etc etc

    Im a Muslim. Im also around the age when you started learning about Islam and am also in a similar situation. I have found that no other religion comes close to Islam. So it was either Islam or no religion for me. Christianity and Judaism, I learned about them for a few months then brushed em off as just couldn’t justify some of their allegations such as god begot a son etc haha i just laughed… Ahmad Deedat was very good at explaining what is wrong with the current bible etc.

    I had many questions:
    How am I gonna conduct my life, could I live with myself if I committed certain actions, why are we here, where did everything come from etc etc

    I started wondering is there more to life then what western society shows it to be.

    I have come to the conclusion that I believe Islam is making me a better person and I say thanks to Allah for taking me down the straight path.
    see the thing is “better person”… that’s the debate I guess, what makes someone a better person…? morals and ethics of how a society as a whole judges certain actions… hmmm i dunno about that… according to what is my question.. who makes the rules… man… hmm but they always change, one day it might be illegal, next day its ok etc etc

    I do not believe that someone can grow up without any rules on how they should structure their life.

    Obviously Islam has had a major influence on your life.
    Do you think without Islam you would have different views on how we conduct yourself and judge others etc etc I believe so…

    This is the force that drives me at the moment, how we conduct ourselves etc

    With regards to proof of the Quran:
    Evidence for me is indirect things such as looking at how a certain society is. seeing how their people conduct themselves. Apparently when the Malaysians first had contact with Muslims they were amazed at how polite, generous etc etc they were. Things like this you know what I mean.
    When I want visual proof I just need to look around me. Thats enough for me to believe in a god, everything in this universe as we understand it has to have a cause.

    I believe god is outside this universe, above his creation, not like the Christians believe, god does not lower himself to the level of his creation.

    I guess from conclusion I believe that the ability to differentiate between good and evil is implanted in us. of course people are gonna have different opinions and this subject would take days to cover…

    A baby cant raise itself, its the parents who raise it and teach it values etc etc
    if these values are good then I guess its “good” if not then they are “bad”

    hope you understand what im getting at. sorry for my long post.

    Inshallah you come back to Islam

  29. cks said, on November 12, 2009 at 9:08 am

    Hi Talal,

    I heard a lot of Malaysia. What is so good killing the infidels? After all, they are human too. Same anatomy as Muslims. I still wonder , the doctrine of Islam has so much brain washing power where one can kill / cheat people of other faith. I cant see anything nice in Islam . Well, it talks about peace but at the same time death. So confusing. So, which is to follow ? To have infidels as friends or to kill them.

  30. Julia said, on November 26, 2009 at 5:26 pm

    You wrote: “In fact it could be said that it was my moral compass that led me to reject religion.”

    Absolutely!

  31. Muhammad Arif Budiman said, on December 19, 2009 at 9:31 am

    @ cks
    Assalamualaik. Hopefully wealth is always be on you.
    I stated that, there are no brain washing here. I’m Muslim since I birth, and I proud of it.
    Islam has many translation depend on the people who translate it, cz there are no restriction how to translate Islamic culture and law in your life. Sure I know that there are a law for another people out of Islam (Ar: kafir), but sure I can’t see a verses said that they must be killed, EXCEPT THEY TURN TO KILL ISLAM FROM THE WORLD. You must underline it. Islam law the “kafir dzimmi”, it’s a type of kafir who don’t do anything, no law-breaking, and pay the tax to the government. This type of kafir is HARAM to be killed. It’s a wrong way to translate it to “must kill all of the people another Islam” according to me, the translator maybe didn’t see back to the historic of the verses (Ar: ashbabun-nuzul).
    It’s sure that Indonesia is the-biggest-amount-Muslim-people’s country that there are nothing Islamic law “translated literally”, there’s no hand-cut for thieves, there’s no “rajam” for people who “zina” (or: prostitute/have a sex before married), etc.

  32. abuyunus2 said, on December 23, 2009 at 12:16 am

    Dear Hassan,

    Thanks for sharing your story. I found it touching although I disagreed with a great number of points. I felt it was generally important to discuss these in more detail and so I set up my own blog on wordpress. The title of the blog is ‘A reponse to Abooali’ and can be found here:

    http://abuyunus2.wordpress.com/

    I hope you and others who may be interested can take the time to read it.

    Best wishes
    Abu-Yunus

  33. ExCatholic said, on December 29, 2009 at 11:27 pm

    Brilliant read Hassan, thanks! If leaving Islam was not so difficult and downright dangerous to leave then I am sure it would have died out a long time ago.

    There’s only one way in life and that’s your own. Have a nice freethinking life Hassan.

  34. Hubby said, on January 1, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    Very interesting and eloquently posted! I hope it made you feel lighter by writing it all. I personally claim Christianity as my religion, but I really only follow Jesus’s words and believe him to have been a portion of Gods soul put on earth in human form to show us all God’s love. I do not believe all the other stories, but view them as stories to be understood in many ways (obviously only ways productive to encouraging love for others). Anyway, I plan on linking to your blog from mine if that is alright.

  35. abooali said, on January 1, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    Yes, that fine, Hubby.

  36. Henry said, on January 18, 2010 at 10:52 am

    I think your work is excellent, and your story is fascinating. Please do not be deterred by the statements of the ‘true believers’ above- after all, they believe they are doing you a favour by trying to save you from apostasy.

    I am not a Muslim but I am interested in and sometimes disturbed by practices of Muslim societies. Your blog provides insight that is not usually available to outsiders, and your writing may serve to reduce prejudice against Muslims (for instance, my perception of the potential of faith based education was improved somewhat by your portrayal of the Islamia School).

    Best Wishes,

  37. Irene said, on February 5, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    I’ve read all the chapters you’ve posted, I truly want to thank you for sharing your experience. Reading the many ups and downs of what you’ve been has been very inspiring and in many ways I understand what you’ve been through because I was a Muslim myself. It is comforting to know that others have the same feeling as me and that it is really okay to feel this way. To be able to finally let go of what I thought was true to my heart and acknowledging what is truly right for me was the most difficult decision I’ve made and yet it is the most positive choice I’ve made for myself by far.

    Thanks for sharing again.

    Best Regards,

    I.C

  38. abooali said, on February 5, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    Hi Irene,

    You are not alone.

    🙂

  39. OneTruth said, on February 6, 2010 at 7:09 pm

    The moral i gain from this story is – “Followers don’t represent a religion, rather it’s the authentic teachings that do”.

    You shall not follow anyone blindly in those matters of
    which you have no knowledge, surely the use of your
    ears and the eyes and the heart – all of these, shall be
    questioned on the Day of Judgement. 17:36

    Half-knowledge doesn’t lead one anywhere.

    Peace.

  40. prep4md said, on February 6, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    If Muslims don’t represent Islam, who represents it? Christians, Jews, or Atheists?

  41. OneTruth said, on February 7, 2010 at 3:05 am

    @prep4md
    Islam is represented by Quran and Sunnah. Likewise Christians don’t represent Christianity.
    Jesus taught them the first commandment – ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.’ (Mark 12:29). How many Christians follow that?

    A follower tries to follow the religion, but very few attain perfection. Judging Islam by looking at muslims around you is sheer ignorance.

  42. prep4md said, on February 7, 2010 at 5:50 am

    No, I disagree. Islam is quran and sunnah. And it is represented by practicing muslims. All religions are the teachings. And they are represented by the practicing followers. This separation between any religion and those who are following it is a weak and naive attempt at protecting these religions from being blamed for anything faulty that the believers do. Of course this trick only works when you are talking to someone ignorant. But you cannot tell someone educated on the matter that islam means peace and it is the religion of peace and it is against all violence and that all the mujahideen of the past, present, and future, do not represent islam. Because s/he will tell you cut the crap and go read surat altawba and surat alanfal and while you are at it some islamic history. Nidal Malik Hasan from the fort hood shooting was influenced and motivated by islam, quran, and sunnah hoping he’ll go to heaven for doing what he’s done. In his brain he was being the best muslim he could be. He was not influenced by jesus, the torah, buddah, etc. He was just putting the islamic teachings he was taught into action.

  43. OneTruth said, on February 7, 2010 at 7:09 am

    “He was just putting the islamic teachings he was taught into action.”
    Did you check what those teachings were?

    Will you also blame Christianity for Hitler’s barbarism?
    And blame Atheism for Stalin’s crimes?

    The fact is that Christians don’t know what’s in their Bible and Jews don’t care what Moses taught.

    Is there anybody who understood the essence of Islam better than the prophet himself? If you want to judge Islam, judge by Quran and Sunnah.

    If you have no knowledge, i advise you to learn.

  44. MetaPhysical said, on March 5, 2010 at 3:16 am

    I identified with your story – was brought up in an non-religious Muslim family, found and practised islam and found peace and joy but when i dug deeper to increase my knowledge i found the reality is very different. i agree completely that it our moral compass is within us for the most part. You are very brave, and it must have been very hard to forsake your belief after so many years – your story has touched my heart! i hope you find the courage to move on and find out what you really want from life and find peace in your own achievements. 🙂

  45. Hassan said, on March 5, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    Thanks MetaPhysical 🙂 How about you? Have you found what you want from life? Are you Atheist now or do you follow another religion?

  46. Peter said, on March 9, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    “I may not be able to define or explain it, but I have always had inner moral compass and I still had it” Its so soon after the beginning with Adam and Eve. People focus so much on the “fall of man” that they forget that the tree represents the knowledge of good and evil, or conscience. According to the book, humans in general have the ability to be moral but choose not to be. Among other things, we must understand what is built into ourselves to understand God!

  47. Amr said, on May 9, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    Hi Hassan.
    Don’t know if i can say anything that hasn’t been already said above by some of the other commentators, but for what its worth here are my thoughts

    I found your story very well told and had the ring of truth to it. For it reflects real experiences that many can empathise with and is told with compassion and sensitivity. I too have gone through a very similar path (born muslim, rediscovered my faith as a young man, engaged in the Dawa and “the islamic movement” as a student etc..) felt that sense of belonging so much denied me in earlier years as a young man strugling with his own identity in britain.

    I myself, am still nominally a muslim, holding on by the slimist of margins, but more and more unable to find satisfactory answers to keep me one.

    For me it boils down to a few specific questions; the like of which you struggled

    But more than this, my belief in God himself has been seriously shaken, for when I began to apply faculties of critical thinking to the one area of my life it was banned from (faith), the more I have to conclude that God is increasingly the unneccessary hypothesis. Its a deeply troubling time and the implications of which are very significant not least to my family. Which brings me to my real question for you..

    What has the impact of your journey made on those nearest and dearest to you – you only briefly touched upon it in your story and I can fully understand if you wish to keep that part private to protect the innocent as it were.

    Oh and finally, I am interested why you still remain a deist (if that;s indeed the case) – what compellling evidence do you find for the existence of a deity and what is your concept of such a deity.

    All the best
    Amr

  48. hassan said, on May 9, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    Hi Amr,

    I will keep some personal details private for now – I hope you don’t mind – but just say reaction has been mixed.

    Since writing this I would say I am now an Agnostic Atheist. In other words I see no evidence for a god and so do not actively believe in one – but am happy to be proven wrong.

    Best wishes,

    Hassan

  49. Babar said, on June 22, 2010 at 10:30 am

    You can always tell a bullshitter by the way they write oh so loftily and keep saying ‘I think one….’/’One who seeks….’, ‘One who blah blah blah’ – You lie to yourself, that’s the worst thing. When explaining how pious a Muslim you were, you seem to have left out several details, eh? Tell the truth to yourself or shut up. Stop re-writing your life and looking for a different way to portray yourself.

  50. virav5 said, on July 3, 2010 at 5:28 am

    Hassan, I just finish reading your blog. It’s such a great story, I am agree to some of the commentator that it this should be published, I even have an intention to translate it to my own language. Thank you so much for sharing your experience, it means a lot to many people, so people who wants to leave Islam not feeling all alone and could relate.

    Regards,

    Vira

  51. Jinn & Tonic said, on July 16, 2010 at 11:00 pm

    Been meaning to get around to reading your story, and chose to do so today.

    Certainly have had those very same questions, re: morality, but decided I LIKE
    the fairly conservative lifestyle I live, religion or no religion.

    I believe there may be some innate feelings of morality, but much of it is
    “learned behavior” in our formidable years, whether inspired by secular or
    religious parents. (Inculturalization)
    Then there are the society’s taboos, norms, what is
    acceptable and what is not. So many factors involved, but still, I conclude
    they are ALL man-made regardless of their origin or source.

    Then external factors (enculturization), can be evidenced by subcultures we
    are exposed to, including large influxs of immigration, and lately, worldwide network availability. If is impossible for two diametrically groups of people to meet, and
    interact without SOMETHING being adopted by one or the other group.
    Hunter/gatherers did this as well, adopting beter strategies for hunting, introduction
    of art, music, etc.

    Even our primate cousins hold codes of ethics, morality, even culture.
    Whats good, bad, right, wrong.

    But it is a strange feeling, when you no longer have a god to dictate this
    for you, but an incredibly amazing sense of freedom for being able to
    choose for yourself.

  52. SD said, on July 19, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    This is phenomenal. Thank you for writing it.

  53. Hana said, on August 27, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    Dear “Teacher” Hassan,

    I was a member of Islamia P School and remember you vividly and in a very fond way. I left after my parents’ divorce at the end of primary school and since then I have felt all of which you have written in your blog. The questions, the emotion, the confusion, the fear and the guilt….

    My heart breaks for you, now knowing that you felt all this for years, even in the time of which I was studying at IPS.

    I myself moved totally away from Islam. I found that all those years of learning the Qur’an, and Deen did nothing more than confuse me greater. Obviously life moves on and you experience things that you could never possibly fathom, at the beginning you turn to what you know (in my case this was what I’d learnt at IPS) but nothing I looked at, nobody that I asked, nothing that I read answered my questions. It was empty and hollow and cold and un-understanding.

    I kept in contact with a few of the girls from IPS (you’ll be interested to know that their lives aren’t exactly Shariah compliant either) yet still some believe that they have the right to preach to me about God and Islam just because they believe in the Shahada. In fact most Muslims I know have the exact same trait.

    I found a Facebook group the other day that sums it up perfectly “smoke, drink, get high, sex before marriage but won’t eat pork ‘cus its haram”.

    The sad fact is that the Muslim community today seems to take liberties in picking and choosing what aspect of their religion suits them and preaching to those who seem a tad confused at their actions. (i.e. me!). Personally I’d much rather renounce the idea of religion and just look at the concept far more purely. Be a good person, live a good life. Simple.

    After leaving IPS (and cutting a long story short) I was brought up as a Roman Catholic by my mothers’ family. Went to a Roman Catholic school and made some NORMAL friends, who weren’t obsessed by every tiny little action and that it just might be the one to send them to the fiery pits! It made me think how wrong it was that I’d been brought up in fear. I felt like my childhood had been robbed as well as my sanity.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful for the experiences I had at IPS, some of them make great anecdotes to tell over dinner and actually some of these experiences I actually enjoyed (like when you used to come into our classroom and read us snippets from Rashid and the Missing Body) In reality I felt claustrophobic, everywhere I looked, everyone I socialized with, even returning home to my “Muslim” family I just felt like I couldn’t be me. (And you know what? “Me” isn’t actually that bad! – Contrary to popular belief!)

    I totally understand why you did what you did, and in fact I commend you on your courage to do so.

    To all those (namely Barbar) – Hassan was (and I see no reason as to why this has changed) an amazing person, he was pious and patient and kind and friendly and we all loved him dearly.

    Hassan – at the beginning of this chapter you mentioned that you found it hard to be “Teacher Hassan” and a role model. You still did an amazing job and I’m very grateful to have met you in my lifetime.

    I hope you find all the answers to your questions, and if you don’t…. Just that you feel content knowing that actually that is perfectly fine too!!

    Don’t be a stranger =)

  54. hassan said, on August 27, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    Dear Hana, you have no idea how happy I was to read your sweet, kind and touching words and it has moved me more than I can express.

    I think you said it all with this quote:

    Be a good person, live a good life. Simple.

    I wish you well on your own journey – best wishes – and keep in touch if you can.

    (Teacher) Hassan 🙂

  55. Hana said, on August 31, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    Dear Hassan,

    Please do keep in touch!

    Feel free to contact me at hana.richards@live.co.uk

    I would love to know how you are, what you’re up to etc nowdays.

    Speak soon.

    Hana.

  56. Karen said, on October 16, 2010 at 10:34 pm

    Dear Hassan

    Hana told me today she has been in touch with you and hearing your story and reading this has brought back many memories – both painful and enlightening!

    I’m Hana’s mother and I also worked at Islamia school for a while – as a classroom assistant/nursery nurse. My name was Nur. Around the year 2000 I started to see the cracks and flaws in our religion and once seen there is no going back is there?!! It was a humbling and frightening experience but also empowering and brought with it a sense of peace when I realised I did not have to have the answers to everything going on in the world and that all that is required of me is to act with good intention and try my best! 🙂

    Ten years on I am thankful I live in this country and had the freedom to make the decision to leave the Muslim community. I was a Muslim convert and coming back to live amongst ordinary English people who’s lives appeared far less complicated took some getting used to but it was a happy experience!

    I know Hana has fond memories of you and of her friends at Islamia. I wish you all the best Hassan 🙂

    Love and a big hug (soddit!)

    Karen x

  57. hassan said, on October 16, 2010 at 11:26 pm

    Dearest Karen,

    I can’t express how happy I am to hear from you. Yes of course I remember you and your wonderful children – as I do all the wonderful children at Islamia who will always be in my heart as my own children.

    I know how difficult your journey must have been and that of your children, but I know you are an intelligent and good person and am sure that these qualities have helped you through this rollercoaster.

    I know it’s a little cliche but I really feel we are just actors on a stage as Shakespear said – just playing our parts, strutting and fretting our hour upon the stage with the roles and abilities we have been given trying our best to understand and find our way as we stumble along – that’s why I blame none and empathise with all.

    Thank you so much for reading and commenting – I feel very humbled that you did 🙂

    I wish you and your lovely children all the best.

    Love and a bigger hug 😀

    Hassan x

  58. Karen said, on October 17, 2010 at 9:18 am

    How lovely! Your reply brought a tear to my eye and made me laugh at the same time 🙂
    Thank you!
    Kx

  59. Khaled said, on November 13, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    Hi Hassan,
    I have read almost all parts of your interesting blog. I have also read many comments of people on both (or I should say all) sides of the argument.
    It seems that, whenever religion is discussed, the question of morality is the first item on the agenda.
    So, without religion people will turn into animals, therefore, everyone should be a believer. Is this the deal?
    To me, I do not care to much how people will act (though, I belive that with or without religion, people behaviour will still be the same)…what is more important to me is, is there a God or not? I mean, regardless of what comes after the answer….if there will be ever a definite answer to this question!

    I have been a committed muslim all my life. I started praying regularly at a very young age (do not remember when exactly) without any pressure from the family. At the age of 15 I memorized the whole Quran.

    Shortly thereafter, all of a sudden, and to my fright and horror, I started questioning the authenticity of Quran!

    I was completely shocked, ashamed, and horrified. I did not know what is happening inside my head!

    I thought I am going to Hell because of these ‘kufr’ thoughts. I could not tell anyone around me…even other family members. A good muslim should not have such questions.

    I lost my appetite and was not able to concentrate in the classroom.

    I could suppress those doubts eventually and I buried them in the darkest spot in my mind and went on with my life. I could convince myself that such doubts are normal for someone in my age. Besides, who the heck am I to question the Quran? All these old knowledgeable sheikhs (3olamaa’) who spent their entire life studying ‘deen’…all these millions of muslims can not be wrong!

    I got busy with my study and then had a busy successful career after my graduation.

    Almost a quarter century later, I was watching a talk show on TV about an ex-muslim man in Egypt who converted to Christianity and who struck me as a deeply sincere person. All my old questions came back at me. What if Islam was not the religion.

    Turning to the internet, I started my web search for answers.

    Two years later I stopped praying…for the first time in my life!

    Being older, I was not scared any more to question the Quran.

    I am still trying to answer my first question; that is, why Quran is miraculous? All muslims say it is. But nobody says – or seems to know exactly – why (of course, apart from the non-sensical pseudoscience interpretations of clowns like Zagloul Elnagar, etc).

    You know what is the worst thing is, the feeling of guilt!…I am a Kafir! The sleepless nights…turning and tossing in bed, nightmares…
    Yesterday I attended the funeral of the father of a colleague of mine. I was standing their when they lowered the dead body into the grave….then went home….another sleepless night!

  60. Kurt said, on January 7, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    Hi Khaled,

    I can relate to your conflict, even though for an ex-catholic apostate like me it seems to be far easier to come to terms with it. I was raised as a catholic, but never passionately belived, even though i participated till i was well, about 15 too. I later discovered that i had become a humanist, beliving in the abstract concept of humanity as an organism worth preserving.

    God was no longer necessary in the big puzzle that made up my interpretation of the world, it would run und function, the little cogwheels turning without a divine power behind it. Much later i discovered that i had applied Ockhams Razor, without any knowledge of the concept. But still i can never rule out that a god could exist. What if i was wrong?

    I have very defined ethics (i was after all raised by Star Trek) and was greatly relieved discovering that my ethics (striclty aimed at achiving a better overall state for humanity) resembled most humanist philosophers findings. But still, what if this hypothetical god, i didn’t belived in any more, was as jealous as described in scripture, even though that greatly contradicted the merciful and forgiving picture in which he was painted on every other behalf?

    It is very likely that this image of a jealous god is fabricated by humans themselfs. When faith became religion, and rules were introduced to define how this newformed society would work, the very simplicistic commandments, or the (at that time) very refined sharia, it became imperative that everyone would follow them, else the society would plunge into chaos. Since this rules were not commanded by state or society, but by religion, deviation from that religion threatened the survival of society itself therefore became the most vile of sins, the one which precedes all others.

    Today we follow the most basic rules of society by commandment of law, religion has lost its monopoly on ethics (i don’t really like the word “morals”, because religion seems to have a trademark on it), and additional values (read: guidelines) are imposed by education and society. Becoming apostate is no more a threat to society, but the religous rules of discrimination of apostates and their expulsion from society are still there, and are even still enforced by the more zealous of religious groups.

    So even if there is a god (which i do think is quite unlikely) its even more unlikely he would have such a unforgiving view on apostates as religion would like us to belive. Maybe the affinity between the teachings of Jesus favored today and philosophical Humanism make this transition very easy and it may be harder for followers of other faiths (or ex-followers in our case), or people more culturally remote to the ideas of Humanism itself.

    In the end we all will not be judged by our believes, but by our actions, judged by some god (unlikely in my opinion), by society (most likely) but most importantly constantly by ourselfes (sure thing).

    I wish, my view on the matter may at least help you to not torture yourself in your selfbuilt hellfire during your lifetime. Have a good sleep.

    Dear Mr. Abooali,

    I also really want to thank you for sharing your thoughts through this blog. While i didn’t need it any more guidance to find my spiritual peace with myself, it provided me with the maybe most balanced and most interesting insight on Islam i have gotten this far as an outsider. Sadly it is not easy to find objective literature on the matter.

    The critical but very insightful and reflected view helped me to reconcile with the many extreme opinions on the matter we westerners are confronted with today, from the extreme demonization everything Islam by the ill informed far right movements so loud today in europe, (which made me doubt in my main believes in the value of every human individual and the “holyness” of the human race), and the apologetic denial and assurance that Islam is a deeply pacifistic religion.

    At the end it confirmed me in my believes, that every human is an individual, even though many seem to try desperately not to be. That no one should ever be judged on which religion he follows. I thank you for the facts you presented, but i am even more greatful for that reassurance of human worth. Keep up the indipendent thinking, it makes you a very precious human being!

    Grateful, Kurt S.

  61. Khaled said, on January 22, 2011 at 5:02 am

    Hi Kurt,
    Thanks for the good words….I am slowly getting less and less worried about the eternal hellish punishment and more confident of my stance on islam in particular and on the concept of religion in general.

    We have been taught that islam is the “Deen Al-fitrah” (= religion of nature; the human nature). In my opinion, this is one of the most preposterous claims made by muslim clerks. If such a claim is true, the why would quran be full of threatening and detailed description of the eternal punishment awaiting the non-believers or even believers who are not up to snuff!

    Quote:
    “Today we follow the most basic rules of society by commandment of law, religion has lost its monopoly on ethics (i don’t really like the word “morals”, because religion seems to have a trademark on it), and additional values (read: guidelines) are imposed by education and society.”

    While the above is true for the western societies, it may not be the case in the muslim world. Unlike christianity, islam – being “theologically” closer to judaism – controls the human life down to the smallest detail….every minute in the 24 hours in every day of the muslim’s life from the minute he/she is born – even before being conceived – till his/her dead body is laid in the grave.
    That’s why the kingdom of saudi arabia has no constitution……they do not need one….they actually can’t have one according to islamic teachings…..quran & sunnah has it all.

    Regards,
    Khaled

  62. Lars said, on April 17, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    Thank you very much for this wondeful and exciting account of your life with Islam. I am very grateful for your effort to share this.

  63. DN said, on June 13, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    Dear Hassan

    I loved reading your story; thank you so much for sharing it. It makes me feel lighter knowing there are other real people out there that think like this and dare to say it. You have managed to say many of the things that I have long thought and felt , and what is so nice about your writing is that your sensitivity and kindness shine through even when talking about difficult things. I admire your honesty and intelligence and your courage. Your mixed background also made me think of my own boys, young men now.
    I hope I find your courage before I am too decrepit! Got a while to go yet with luck.
    I wish you all the happiness in the world and thank you.
    Take care
    D x
    P.S. I loved your CEMB videos too. The bad kitten in his hoodie brought a huge smile to my face.

  64. 〇rlandο Gοdhand〇 said, on July 22, 2011 at 8:58 am

    “I knew Kamelia would rationalise that my doubts about religion were just disillusionment with Muslims – something I had talked about many times in the past.”

    This is the usual response, as you are aware: that exceptions to Islām on paper do not nullify the reality of its perfection (in other words, the fact that no country or government has produced what others call a ‘true’ Islāmic system in practice does not invalidate Islām in theory). I too ascribed to this view a while back. I can now see, however, that Islām’s disastrous examples in real life point to an actual inner contradiction at the heart of it all.

  65. Thurth said, on July 22, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    I have some thoughts on that Orlando,
    lets look at it from another perspective and work it from the most prominent example of teachings gone state foundation gone wrong; Communism. There is definitely nothing wrong with Marxism, as there must nothing be wrong with Islam as Religion (i still do have the outsiders view though). Both are efforts (initiated by whomever) to make people better, more social, more humane than they were. But taken as absolutes, forged to an ideology (or strict religion) and taken as fundaments to base states upon they encounter their limits. Because they desperately try to make man (and women) better they inherently try to change him. A state founded on this ideology or religion will make that change to law, it will force upon man that change and ultimately spur resistance and turn into a totalitarian system. These states don’t account for man not being perfect, but postulate their ideology to be, forcibly trying to change man to correspond with it. But even the Koran was written for man (by whomever, i’m taking an agnostic stance here, since its not relevant to make my point), to be understood by imperfect beings. How could it possibly be perfect then? Can it be taken as an absolute? After 1400 years of working on philosophy couldn’t we imagine a more accurate and actualized “word of god” aimed at more intelligent and evolved humans? Well there ain’t a new set of instructions around sadly, even though we would desperately need one. Thats why i think the literal interpretation of scripture (and even status quo dogmas like in the katholic church) diminishes, not purifies a creed. From what i understand Sufism had the right idea, start from the scripture (if you are a believer) and work your way from there.

  66. 〇rlandο Gοdhand〇 said, on July 23, 2011 at 10:34 pm

    “A state founded on this ideology or religion will make that change to law, it will force upon man that change and ultimately spur resistance and turn into a totalitarian system. These states don’t account for man not being perfect, but postulate their ideology to be, forcibly trying to change man to correspond with it.”

    Does that not simply point to an inherent contradiction at the heart of such ideologies as communism and Islām?

  67. Thurth said, on July 24, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    I think the contradiction you see occurs when you make that ideology absolute, unmovable, undisputable. Then it fails to be useful for man und begins to oppress him. A benign guide to a better world becomes a totalitarian dystopia. I’m atheist myself, so i am very reluctant to criticize a religion, i don’t know much about. I even see some good in the catholic church (where i come from), but i think its important to see the limits of what an ideology can, and what it cannot achieve.

  68. 〇rlandο Gοdhand〇 (@Kodanshi) said, on August 19, 2011 at 11:26 am

    I agree with you there completely. As an ex–muslim atheist, though, I have found that the little good you find in the qur’an already has its place amongst developed philosophies of the Greeks, or later humanists. If concentrating on these elements and living right (orthopraxy) takes paramount importance, then why pay any attention to all that other unnecessary fluff in the holy books?

    Gah, I don’t know what I meant to say there…

  69. asian113 said, on September 8, 2011 at 8:46 am

    MuslimGirl said, on June 30, 2009 at 9:11 pm

    My ignorant MuslimGirl – What make you think that real beauty is from the face and that guys will be attracted to your face. There are many girls who does not have an attractive face but guys are attracted to them. Please don’t keep emphasizing on how beautfiful you are and that makes you very arrogant and you will lose your attractiveness. Cover your face and wear whatever you want so that satan will not tempt you and leave others to make their own choice.

  70. asian113 said, on September 8, 2011 at 9:13 am

    Nadine said, on July 8, 2009 at 3:36 am

    I read with interest what you have written when you said being a good person is more important and that ‘goodness’ comes from islam. I am not a muslim and does that means that that is no goodness in me. Please understand that goodness comes from the heart. Do you tell lies, show your angers sometimes. Will that make you a good person. Please understand that all humans have weaknesses and the only good person is a dead person. Do you see Muhammad has a good person?

  71. asian113 said, on September 8, 2011 at 9:23 am

    jahve said, on September 14, 2009 at 12:50 am
    you really had all this time to write this.. do you think muslims they belive this story is true…
    ah, i forget you wanted to cheat cristians

    Please do understand that whether muslims believe his story or not is none of your business and what has his story got to do with cheating christians.

  72. asian113 said, on September 8, 2011 at 10:21 am

    OneTruth (Will you also blame Christianity for Hitler’s barbarism? The fact is that Christians don’t know what’s in their Bible and Jews don’t care what Moses taught.

    Hitler is responsible for his own actions. Did he and his men kill, shouting “Jesus is great or christianity is great”. Is he a follower of Christ? What has it got to do with christianity? The fact is that muslims knows what’s in their quran and follows blindly what Muhammad taught.

  73. SK said, on July 15, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    Having read all of your 12 Chapters (and all of the comments as well), I cannot help but being moved by your story which you’ve quite eloquently written and shared with us. I see much of myself in your journey with Islam and can really identify with your thoughts and the pain. Despite having only come across your story in the past couple of days, it feels like I’ve known you for much longer (and I know how stalkerish and weird that sounds). In many ways, reading your story feels like reconnecting with a long lost friend.

    It’s been a long time since you’ve published your last post or anyone has even commented but I just felt compelled to write this comment to let you know that your story still continues to touch people, including myself – a young twenty year old growing up in a quite conservative Muslim household half way across the world in Australia who is still coming to terms with his faith. Personally, I still haven’t reached the stage yet where I can completely denounce all my Islamic beliefs and upbringing – atm it’s very emotionally traumatic and heart wrenching for me to come terms with a future where I’m no longer a Muslim – and, as you well know, the heavily loaded term apostate and the deeply embedded negative stigma associated with it doesn’t help either. Atm, I cannot bring myself to admit it.

    But wherever I am right now in my spiritual journey, I just wanted to really thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your story as well as your Youtube videos. I feel like you accepted me for who I am before I could even accept myself. In this moment, I feel like I have some level of inner peace which I have not experienced for some time now. The moment you were finally able to come to terms with your faith (or rather lack of it) and leave behind your past life made me reminiscent of this scene from Blade Runner at the end: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JjJzMBGUwo (but that’s probably just because it’s one of my most favourite films).

    In any case, it’s been a long time since your journey with Islam and I assume that your life must be running quite routinely (and busily) now. I hope that you have found the happiness and life contentment that you were looking for. Perhaps you can provide us with an update as to how you’re going but I completely understand if you choose not to do – we all need to move on with our lives at some point or another.

    Wishing you all the best with everything!

    SK

  74. Muhammad Fauzi said, on July 23, 2013 at 9:07 am

    Hassan, thank you for the sharing. Thank you.. thank you.. thank you.. Now i feel so peaceful 🙂

  75. Muhd Rafiq said, on August 30, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    Thank you Hassan. I first watched your CEMB videos and after all of it i thought they were the best, beautifully made with concise and strong points i can totally relate to.I had these lines of arguments on islam playing in my heads before i discovered what internet can really offer.what a relief it was to find you spoke my mind in the videos. actually i was pretty happy to know that my thoughts weren’t the result from random madness episodes i didn’t know i had.it’s blatantly clear the moment one steps out and think a little bit out of the box.

    i’m now a full fledged atheist,so as my wife after i opened up to her.how lucky i am in that sense.of course initially she had struggles,shivers and the feel of lost cause but finally she got a grip and we were together leaving the religion behind. but its a different story with my side of the family. while im going the other way,my mom is getting more and more consumed with islam and been trying to drag all my families along. i can sense the holier-than-thou attitude that comes with it. i can feel the burden gets heavier, most of the time, annoyed.

    I love my families, but i risk being disowned if i ever get discovered apostatized. perhaps i should distance from them myself to avoid any sort of conflict. plus the trimming down the amount hassle of living a double life i have to endure. im thinking of migrating from my country malaysia but don’t know how to.

    but anyway, thanks again. recent update from malaysia, seems that quite a number of apostates are starting to come out. hope this will continue to be a healthy progress

  76. Rami said, on June 27, 2014 at 4:52 am

    Dear Hassan,

    I was deeply moved by your story. I am an ex-Muslim who still pretends to be a Muslim more than 10 years after I stopped believing in Islam for fear of being rejected by my family and community and out of concern for my safety. Losing my faith was an excruciating long process that I couldn’t stop or reserve no matter how hard I tried to hold onto Islam. My doubts about Islam began when I was a teenager and kept on compounding for years until I could no longer keep holding together what was the foundation of my identify and the meaning of my existence. Some of the questions that plagued me included:

    1. How can Islam or any other major world religion be the only true religion if all of them haven’t been around for the vast majority of human history? Anthropologists estimate human beings have been around for about 200,000 years. Roughly speaking, Islam is about 1,400 years old; Christianity is about 2,000 years old; Judaism is about 4,000 years old; and Hinduism (the world’s oldest continually practiced major religion) is about 10,000 years old. All of these religions account for five percent or less of the time that human beings have been around. If God’s message is eternal, then what and where is the message given to our earliest ancestors?

    2. Why did God not make the “true” religion abundantly obvious? Many people of different faiths genuinely believe they practice the only true religion. Yet, I believe most people would convert to the true religion if it was abundantly obvious. That so many people genuinely believe in widely different religions suggests the true religion is not abundantly obvious.

    3. If the ultimate outcome at the end of our lives is that we are judged on judgement day and then either go to heaven or hell, why would God create human beings in the first place if the vast majority of them would end up going to hell? If followers of the true religion go to heaven and everyone else goes to hell, wouldn’t it have been better if humans were never created? For no matter what the true religion is, only a small minority of humanity has ever followed it.

    4. Would we take the prophets seriously if they arrived in the present day instead of hundreds of years ago? If someone told us today that he or she went to a mountain and a supernatural being spoke with him or her, wouldn’t we think the person is a fraud or crazy? Hundreds of people claim to be prophets in the modern age who we pay no heed. How are today’s self-claimed prophets different than people in the past who claimed to be prophets?

    5. Why do women receive less inheritance and count as less of a witness than men in Islam?

    6. If a lot of the violence committed in the name of Islam is misguided, why wouldn’t God have made it impossible for people to interpret the message of Islam as supporting mass violence? Violent Muslims are able to point to a lot of verses in the Qur’an that encourage violence.

    Leaving Islam was the hardest and most painful thing I have ever done. Although I hide that I no longer believe in Islam, leaving the religion in my heart has been the best thing that ever happened to me.

    Brother Hassan, thank you for your example and your courage to share your story. I hope to be as brave as you one day with my family and community.

  77. LedZepIV said, on November 8, 2014 at 11:10 pm

    So here I am at the end, once again, my friend. A new sun has risen. When I first read your blog, it lead me into a whirlpool of thoughts, emotions and experiences. I was drained mentally and spiritually. Now I find myself at the precipice of a ledge. And your blog; your wisdom and compassion, has again inspired me. This second trip, is not so much about religion and dogma as it is about life-affirmation, courage and dreams.

    You are so kind and such a beautiful soul. You write well. You make the world less dark, less scary. The night creatures that dance their macabre dance on my walls, are proven to be simple silhouettes. My fears animated. You lead by example; holding a torch of rationality and empathy, illuminating the same dark and dank passages that we all have to walk through.

    I write this with a lot of love in my heart and I hope that you and your family are happy and that you are all well. In a few years, when I’ve exited the mouth of this cave, I will find you, and meet on the ledge.

  78. abooali said, on November 9, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    Hi LedZepIV – Know that you are not alone. We are all walking this twisting winding road and we all have to pass through dark caves. Since I last wrote on this blog an awful lot has happened to me too my friend and I hope one day to add a few more pages. I wish you peace, love and happiness 🙂

  79. No More Jahiliyyah said, on November 15, 2014 at 1:27 am

    I came across your blog while i was googling Islamia School (a sister was interested in sending her children there). I was born into a Muslim family (mostly non-practising) and even attended Islamia Primary School in 1991/1992 for a short while. I didn’t follow Islam in any way until at the age of 25 by the Mercy of Al-Hadi, i was guided back to the deen. As you were once a practising Muslim, you know about the huge effects iblees has on us, and how hard he tries to make us leave Islam in one way or another. I don’t want to preach, i’m not going to provide ayat from the Quran or ahadeeth, all i’m going to suggest is that you make dua. Ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to guide you back to siratal mustaqeem and to fill your heart and your mind with firm belief in Him, and fear of Him. Don’t just brush this off as another Muslim messaging you, take this seriously. Make sincere dua, ask for guidance, beg Allah azza wa jal to allow you to feel that love for Him that you once felt. Remind yourself of death, of being in your grave. Look at the creation around you and remind yourself of how complete you felt when your emaan was at its highest. Don’t let all of these fellow ‘ex-Muslims’ give you false comfort and make you feel relieved that they “relate” to you and are “so happy” to hear you’ve left Islam. Beg Allah ta’ala to bring your dead heart back to life. It’s not a joke.

  80. No More Jahiliyyah said, on November 15, 2014 at 11:31 pm

    Also when you think back you’ll realise that you leaving Islam didn’t happen overnight. Shaitan knows he could never turn a believer into a disbeliever that easily. He tricked you by first making you think you needed to get involved in Sufism, and then by making you believe there was no harm in visiting temples and such places. He slowly but surely worked on you and he succeeded in getting you, a man whose heart was once filled with dedication to Our Creator, to believe that we are just here, existing, and nothing created us. Everything has a creator, something can not be put together by nothing, it defies logic.

  81. abooali said, on November 16, 2014 at 7:02 pm

    Hi NoMoreJahiliyyah,

    Thank you for your heartfelt words. As it happens I still identify as a Muslim since my family and loved ones are Muslims and it just makes life easier that way. But as for regaining my faith back as it once was, that is not something I can control. There just so many aspects of Islam that I simply find unbelievable and no amount of du’a has made any difference – and believe me I have made du’a innumerable times down the years, as well as during my period of doubts. But if there is a God he clearly does not answer du’as. I am aware of course that the Qur’an says he answers the du’a of those who call on him and he answers the du’a of the distressed and removes their distress – but in both my experience and observation – this simply isn’t true. In fact it is hard to avoid the conclusion that I have been simply talking to myself during all the years I made du’a. If there is a God and he can hear us – he certainly doesn’t respond. I know you will say he does respond and has responded to so many Muslims – but Christians will tell you the same. Hindus will tell you that when they made offerings to Ganisha their daughter found a husband just as they had requested. But this sort of anecdotal evidence means nothing. It follows the probability of chance. Just like praying to Santa Clause will bring results around 50% of the time – particularly if one is creative in how one perceives the “response”. If God truly answered du’a then he would have long ago answered the du’a of the desperate mothers of Gaza, or the brutalised and abused children of Syria. If there is a God, then he doesn’t answer du’as, and takes no interest in the world. He leaves the world to run by natural laws and does not interfere in any way. If there is a God – he is not the “personal” God of Islam and the other religions. These are all man-made fictions. If there is a God, he has nothing to do with any of them. I have come to this belief after years of contemplation and rational thought. It hurts me to see Muslims in such a crisis all over the world. I do care about Muslims – my dearest loved ones are Muslims – and as I say, still identify as a Muslim – but Muslims will never solve the problems that are destroying them until they wake up and realise that there is no absolute revealed truth. Matters of the next life, the unseen, God etc… these are all mysteries that one simply cannot be dogmatic about. By all means pray, make Du’a and fast – I also do that – but I wish Muslims would stop fighting each other over who’s right, who’s closer to God and stop policing what others do or what they believe or don’t believe.

    Best wishes.

  82. Who is more jahil, the 'jahili' or the one who claims jahiliyyah? said, on November 16, 2014 at 7:03 pm

    Here’s some elementary logic:

    1. A thing is a discrete entity that can be identified as such.
    2. Every thing has a creator.
    3. A creator is a thing (1,2).
    4. Allah is a creator (3).
    5. Allah is created (3,4).

    … oh.

  83. Who is more jahil, the 'jahili' or the one who claims jahiliyyah? said, on November 16, 2014 at 7:17 pm

    (Premise 5 should have referred to premises 2, 3 and 4, and premise 4 shouldn’t really have referred to premise 3, but the argument is still logically valid – and, I contend, logically sound. NoMoreJahiliyyah, please feel free to point out why it’s logically unsound – its theological unsoundness is a given, but that’s not the same thing.)

  84. Positron said, on December 18, 2014 at 11:47 pm

    What is your evidence for 2? How have you come to the conclusion that everything has a creator?, Who is more jahil, the ‘jahili’ or the one who claims jahiliyyah. People have used this ‘logic’ to try and convince me previously. However I still see no evidence of a creator, let alone an involved creator.

    I was discussing marriage with a Muslim man and I read the Qur’an many times. Something that I initially found upsetting (I’d been recently bereaved so the hellfire passages were painful) and then perplexing. This man is a scientist and seemed unable to even discuss the passages that confused me. Though he always put me off and said he would when he found time. He broke up with me because I didn’t convert though I’d made it clear that I was only reading the Qur’an to understand him not that I would convert. The whole episode left me bemused and deeply hurt. He accused me of being prejudiced or ignorant – but I’d only got these ideas direct from my translation of the Qur’an. Your story has helped me find peace with it, I’ve felt like a fool because these things didn’t make sense to me and I couldn’t see why they made sense to him. Is a relief to know that I’m not alone in these difficulties.

    As a teacher myself I can only hope to inspire the affection your students have for you. Thank you for sharing

  85. Alan Flynn said, on December 30, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    @Positron … sounds like you had a narrow escape. Did you ever broach 4:34 with him? Was it ‘prejudice and ignorance’ to query the hitting of wives?


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